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The Inside Story of Dr. KNOW

Teaching Teens about

INNOVATION Is the INTERNET the best the thing for video games?

THE BEST OF HALO 4 Is it as GOOD as it’s suppose to be?


Letter from the Editors Dear Readers, Thank you for taking time out of your day to look through our magazine. Digitall is a magazine that has taken much time from our lives and we hope that it has become something to match with big budget magazines. We’ve worked very hard on this magazine and have spent a long time considering how to provide the best possible product for our readers. We have confidence that you will enjoy every page. If you continue to read our magazine you will be happy to find many interesting articles about computers, the LASA robotics team, technology, and video games. We hope that you learn a lot about these subjects and that you discover something amazing from this. We ourselves have learned a lot from creating this magazine. We have met with people who we would never otherwise have interacted with, and learned things that we wouldn’t even know approach. So, in short, we thank you for taking the time to look at this magazine and hope you enjoy it through the fowwllowing years.

Austin Dell

2 December 2012 DigitAll

Poet Larsen

Trevor Binford


ALIENWARE

We bring the best of computers to you

So that you can focus on what matters

OUT OF THIS WORLD TECHNOLOGY


CONTENTS pg. 8-11

Robotics

LASA Robotics

6 The best schools for engineers

The basement club

Photo by Trevor Binford

pg. 15-17

Computers

Dr. Know

18 The nuts and bolts of a computer

Who is this Dr. Know?

Photo by Poet Larsen

Video Games

pg. 21-23

Digital games

12 Halo 4’s good

How do you buy your games?

Cover image by 343 Industries

and bad

Photo by Austin Dell

Table of Contents 5


Contributors Trevor Binford was born in Los Angeles in 1998, and is now the robotics reporter of our magazine. He has been interested in technology almost his entire life. He was first inspired to pursue a career of robotics and journalism by the magazine New Scientist, a magazine that Binford still looks up to. After moving to Austin in 2008, Binford’s same love of technology led him to a robotics class in middle school, which was one of the main inspirations for his later involvement in digitALL. Today, his extra-curricular activities include playing video games, reading, and playing with his pet labradoodle named Halifax. Photo by Poet Larsen

Austin Dell, a student at LASA, is one of the five people that came to this high school from O. Henry. He enjoys the many challenges at this school and finds the work very stimulating. Austin has always been interested in creating things and has recently discovered that computers and technology overall is a great fit for him in creating things. His hobbies include playing video games, designing pixel art, and studying economics. Austin really enjoys games like Halo 4, Intrusion 2, Star wars Battlefront 2, Transformers Fall of Cybertron, Minecraft, and Terraria. He thinks Indie games are the best kind of games and he is striving to make his own action puzzle game in the near future. He also skateboards when the weather is nice and is constantly looking for adventure. Photo by Trevor Binford

Poet Larsen is a freshman at LASA currently taking the signature course Electronic Magazine. He is also taking the AP Computer Science class at LASA with Mr. Stephens. He became interested in computers and video games when he was four years old, particularly the game Age of Empires 2: the Age of Kings. He does however play other video games, his most recent interest is Minecraft. He often hangs out with Austin Dell, a member of the group, playing Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Minecraft on the xbox 360. His hope for the future is to get a career that focuses on computers.

Photo by Trevor Binford

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December 2012 Digitall


The Best of the Best Choosing the right college is one of the most important life choices for many young adults. Here for your information are the best ranked technological colleges in the world. Photo by Madcoverboy

MIT MIT is widely considered to be the last work in technology colleges. It has been consistently ranked as the best engineering university in the United States, let alone the world. A degree from this school will likely land you a job from Google or IBM. But according to their website, tuition will cost a hefty $40,738. Photo by King of Hearts

Stanford Stanford is acknowledged by US News and by Business Insider to be both one of the best research and teaching institutions. This school not only excels in technology, but in every subject possible. But with a tuition reported by their website to be around $41,250, even without accounting for living costs, it isn’t cheap. 6

December 2012 DigitAll


Photo by Falcorian

Berkeley A Californian college that is renowned for its large libraries and student diversity, Berkeley has produced a remarkable seven Noble Laureates. Tuition according to its website is a relatively light $38,500, and be a cheap alternative. Photo by Monsarc

Cambridge Cambridge is one of the oldest universities in the world, and one of the largest in the UK. It sports a very strong technology program, but as it is located within the UK, it may be difficult for US readers to attend.

Harvard Claiming to be the oldest university in the US, Harvard has a suitable grandeur and majesty. But that ancient charm does not belie Harvard’s surprisingly good technology programs. This school is not a bad choices at all.

The Best of The Best

7


Robot Dreams By Trevor Binford


LASA’s robotics club is one of the most recognised in the nation. What has made it such a successful program? And how deos the club affect those students who participate in it? Beneath LASA high school, there is a room with trophies piled haphazardly on rusty filing cabinets, dusty plaques hanging on the walls, and ribbons pinned to any and every available surface. On the whiteboard are elaborate circuit diagrams, and computers line the room. Worn robots rest on the walls, and plans for new ones are spread out on the tables. This is no laboratory, but the home of LASA’s robotics club This club is part of the growing trend of student robotics groups. In a 2010 article published in Tech Directions, Richard Johnson explained how the robotics competition For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), attracts over 10,000 participation teams. Another, Boosting Engineering Science and Technology (BEST), reaches thousands of students. And he claims that the process of creating robots for these kinds of competitions has been linked to 10 December 2012 DigitAll

increases in problem solving and creativity, not to mention the cooperation and community created by any club. Started in 1983 by teacher Tony Bertucci, LASA’s Robotics Team has been met with great success. Nicknamed Purple Haze by its members, the team has won dozens of competitions over the years. One student,

Lane Kolbly, listed out the awards won by his robot last year. “First place award, third place in the competition, most robust design, most photogenic design,” Kolbly said, obviously proud of his work. The robot in question is elaborate, the exterior covered in circuits, wires snaking across its metal skin. Created by the Robotics

A student adjusts a prototype robot.

Photo by Trevor Binford

Club for the FIRST Bayou competition in 2011, the device was exhibited in an event in New Orleans. But FIRST is more than just a competition for this team. “You help other teams be their best, so that when you’re on the field, everyone is at their best,” explained Marisa Smith, a senior and member of LASA’s Robotics Club. “It’s a really good atmosphere, the teams are really helpful to each other.” And that feeling of amiability and camaraderie not only helps each team with the technical aspects of the competition, but also to simply relax and step away from the stress of competing. “One team came up to me and Lane and were just like, ‘Hey, do you want to learn step dancing?’ … And so it ended up being that Rebecca, Lane and I were learning step dancing. FIRST competitions are always really great.” Smith recalled, laughing at the incident. That casualness is present in all FIRST competitions


Photo by Trevor Binford

Arrays of computers sit in the robotics room, ready for use

and changes a Robotics Team from a group of like-minded individuals into a family. The noncompetitive nature of the competitions also leads to a much less stressful and aggressive experience at tournaments. But it is difficult to reach the point of attending competitions. Another team member, Calvin Stence, spends some ten hours a week at the Robotics Club, working on designs, tweaking schematics, and modifying robots. You can find students clustered around computers, discussing schematics, or attaching new components to a pet project at almost any hour. And traveling to any far-off competitions is a 24 hour endeavour, lasting from dawn

to dusk. But to the members of the Robotics Club, these activities are all very rewarding. “The reason that I do robotics is that I get to be in the shop,” Smith said. “I’ve always loved

also changes members of the Robotics Club. “[Robotics] affects your sense of logic … you really have to slow down and do everything very methodically, or it becomes a problem and is a real pain in

“Robotics affects your logic... It affects your work ethic.” being in the shop, even in Sci-Tech, because it’s just so fun.” She has been working with making these creations since seventh grade, when Smith first began to work with robots. Back then, she was working with Legos and the systems that they provide. Now she uses real-world parts, with other people who share her passion for engineering. The process of building itself

the rear. That spreads over into other things. It affects your work ethic,” said Stence. Working on robots forces that cautious attitude into your personality, as being lax or lazy simply hurts you in the long run. But that more negative aspect of the club has a flip side. “Making a machine that does something when you tell it to do something, and does it

well, is really satisfying for me.That’s why I love it. You’re doing something that has an end goal,” said Stence. “It’s just really great to have your robot do something. From concept to creation to goal, it’s an awesome feeling.” Back at the shop, last year’s creation sits quietly in a corner. Half a dozen similar robots rest near it, looking to all the world like a group of friends, reminiscing over old times. The robots are tributes to the innovations and creativity of the students who made them and will remind and inspire many more to come. “[Robotics] reminded me how fun it is to do things with my hands, and how fun it is to learn things.” Robot Dreams 11


Game Reviews With countless video games coming out every day, it’s hard to tell which ones are worth your time and money. That being said, we present you with a few of, what we think to be, some of the best games. From the seattle times

Halo 4

ESRB rating: M Genre: Sci-fi Price: $59.99 Publisher: 343 industries

9.0

For deals on Halo 4 armor and map packs, head over to xbox.com/ halo4

12 December DigitAll

Halo 4 is the newest installment in the Halo series, one of Microsofts few successful exclusives. This game also marks the transition from one game company (Bungie) to a brand new one (343 Industries). With an entirely new company taking the reins of this popular franchise as one of their first official games, there was plenty of doubt. But rest assured, 343 Industries has made a lovely game.

The Good

The Bad

• Highly stylized graphics, making this game the best looking game on the Xbox • Perfect, smooth, and intuitive controls • Great enemy AI • A great-story driven campaign that is almost as good as a movie • A great multiplayer with a balanced leveling up system and great maps

• Although the campaign has a good story, it is fairly short with only eight missions • Fire fight has been taken out, replaced with Spartan Ops • Although Spartan Ops gives you a more direct goal for shooting aliens, it loses its replay ability rather quickly • The level design is repetitive, usually consisting of pushing buttons


Taken by Austin Dell

Paper mario sticker star

ESRB rating: E Genre: Fantasy Price: $39.99

The Bad

Publisher: Nintendo

8.0

For more details and hints on Paper Mario Sticker Star take a look at mariowiki.com

Paper Mario Sticker Star is the sequel to Super Paper mario. This series of games contain RPG elements and takes place in a paperized mario universe, leaving plent of room for jokes about charactrs being crumpled or filed away. So, does it hold up?

The Good • Great art style and cartoony graphics • Fun level design • Clever puzzles • Great scenery • The 3D works well, to an extent • Lots of secrets

Taken by Austin Dell

Adventure Time: Hey Ice King, Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!?!

ESRB rating: E10+ Genre: Fantasy Price: $29.99 Publisher: WayForward

7.5

Wanna see even more Adventure Time content? Go to cartoonnetwrok.com/ AdventureTime for full episodes and clips.

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past five years then you have heard of Adventure Time, the insanely popular kids Cartoon on cartoon Network. And now, because of that popularity a game has been created for the 3ds. In this game, you play as Finn the human and Jake the dog on a mathematical adventure to defeat the Ice king!

• Combat can get annoying, its fairly easy most of the time and does not bring much reward • Very few RPG elements, mostly based on your sticker inventory and your hp • Puzzles can be cryptic and you will need help

The Good

The Bad

• Retro style graphics keeps this game nostalgic and cartoony • Great Atmosphere • Correctly attributes to the lore of the show • Most characters are memorable • A great Soundtrack • Great use of RPG elements

• 2D level design is poor and doesn’t feel smooth • gameplay can feel stilted • 3D has no point in the game • When voices are used, they don’t sound quite right • It can get very hectic in levels • You can get lost if you don’t play for a while Game Reviews 13


Bigger is always 90% larger screen

Better Better 3D

Longer Battery life


Dr. Know By Poet Larsen

When you walk into the Computer Science room a warm waft of air hits your face. You can hear the computers whirring with vitality and you can see the bright lights from the monitors illuminate off students faces staring at the screen, working hard. In the middle of the room Mr. Strubberg is often times working with a student fixing a computer. Boxes of cables and wires and chords surround him as he tirelessly works to fix the computer. Once he does finish fixing the computers he heads on over to his desk to work on something else related to computers.


Mr. Strubberg is a new teacher of computer maintenance and networking at LASA, but teaching in the high school environment is not new to him. He has worked at several other jobs ,mainly teaching, before he went to LASA. Ranging from teaching at a vocational school in Missouri to teaching intense courses to the FBI, CART, and the DEA. His story started off in 1980 when he was born in Washington, MO, a small town outside of the St. Louis, MO area. The town is just a little town outside of St. Louis, like Round Rock outside of Austin. “The town is where I did pretty much all of my growing up,” Mr. Strubberg said. Ever since his childhood he always had a niche for technology. Whenever “my friends video games wouldn’t work I was the guy to fix it,” Mr. Strubberg recalled smiling. He never really considered going into a career of computer maintenance and networking until his dad that told him, while he was in college, to go into a career and to go find a job. And because of that push from his dad, he decided to graduate from Sanford-Brown University, near St. Louis, with a degree in network administration, and then started the hunt for jobs. He decided to go into a career of technology 16 December 2012 Digitall

because he liked to be able fix technology problems others could not. In 2000, he found a job opening as the technician for a school district in Washington, MO. He loved his job because he got to fix pretty much every technological problem that the school district would run into. If computers would not work or turn on, he was the guy. If the whole network crashed he could go in and fix it. He stayed at the job until 2004, but it got to a point where he wanted to do a different job. “I didn’t want to be a tech guy anymore, I wanted to be a teacher for tech guys,” Mr. Strubberg said. So he quit his job and asked the

school district for a job teaching high schoolers networking. He did find a teaching job at the Rivers Career Center in Washington, MO. He taught there for 6 years until 2010. Rivers Career Center is a vocational school that doesn’t focus so much on Math, English, Science, etc, but instead more on Information Technology, Graphic Design, Auto-Mechanics, and Precision Machinery type stuff. While at the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) meeting in 2010, a meeting of teachers to talk about new trends in technology, the textbook company Total Seminars came to him, after he made

Mr. Strubberg sitting at his desk working

Photo by: Poet Larsen

a presentation about how teachers could teach the concept of wifi to students, and offered him a job. A man named Mike Meyers, Mr. Strubberg’s eventual boss, came up to him. “He said ‘Scott I really want you to work for me, but I don’t want you because I’m robbing you from your students.’” Mr.Strubberg was very touched by Mr. Meyer’s kind words and eventually went to work for him. By accepting the job, he was forced to move to Houston, TX. He had a mixed bag of emotions moving to Houston, nervous, excited, tense, curious, the list goes on. He was moving from a small town with a population under 15 thousand people to Houston, one of the biggest cities in the U.S. The company had him write textbooks and lab manuals for teachers and administrations. He travelled the country teaching courses to the FBI, CART and DEA. CART stands for Computer Analysis and Response Team. They work on preventing attacks on computers. “I [got] paid really really well and [travelled] around and [lived] in a big city,” Mr. Strubberg said. It was not always a relaxing job for him though, especially when he was travelling. “It [was] a super focused hyper intensive version


Mr. Strubberg working on a computer

of the stuff I teach at LASA...[Filtered] down to about a few weeks,” Mr. Strubberg said. He taught FBI, DEA, and CART agents the very basics. “You would be surprised how many FBI cyber security agents don’t know how to install RAM ... They can track IP addresses but don’t know how to download RAM,” Mr. Strubberg said with a smile. He worked at the job for 2 years, but started getting “homesick” from not teaching high school students. “I really [missed] working in the high school arena [and being in] the energy to want to learn this stuff,” Mr. Strubberg said. And so he started researching for teaching jobs, specifically in Austin, TX.

Photo by: Poet Larsen

“I applied to be a technician for AISD ... I really wanted to move to Austin ... I was burned out on Houston” Mr. Strubberg said. He did not get the job as the technician. “Apparently what I heard … the person who is in charge of networking gave my resume to LASA and was ‘like hey he is way to qualified’” Mr. Strubberg said. It was only a part-time job at LASA, but he worked out a deal with the employers and took the job. This is his first year, and just like any freshman is trying to adjust to the environment of LASA. “Here is pretty sweet,” Mr. Strubberg said. “I like being challenged.” He considers his greatest difficulty to be the students,

more than anything else. “Keeping up with [them] is my challenge,” Mr. Strubberg said. He explained that it’s not the teaching that is a challenge but the thirst that students have for wanting to learn. He is just stunned to be at a school where there are students that genuinely want to learn from him. He really likes it though, because he gets the opportunity to teach high school students something that he loves, and the students want to learn the subject. He said his hope as a teacher here at LASA is “to be a fountain of knowledge” for all of his students. Once he gets home from teaching he likes to get his daily dose of “the Daily Show, the Colbert

Report... [keeps] up on the Walking Dead… [and reads] the latest issue of the Amazing Spider-Man.” After he cools down from the day, he begins planning out the next day. He figures out what he should teach for the next day, checks his email, and decides how he should teach his material. Teaching and working with high school students on computer maintenance and networking is what Mr. Strubberg really likes to do. He loves the environment of LASA and hopes to expand the Computer Science department even more. His final goal there at LASA is to get a full-time job teaching, instead of his part-time job.

Dr. Know 17


What Makes a Computer Have you ever wondered what all those wires within the tower were for, or all of those devices whirring when you turn on the computer? Do you even know what a tower is? What do all the wires do?

1

Fans The fans within the computer help keep the computer from overheating. There are usually several fans within the computer; one in back and on the motherboard.

2

RAM These slots are for adding RAM (Random Access Memory). Whenever the computer is doing any calculations, it is stored in the RAM. Having more RAM in your computer makes the computer faster because it can do more calculations at once.

3

Motherboard The blue board in the back is the motherboard. It has the CPU, memory, and connectors to every part of the computer, directly or indirectly.

18 December DigitAll

4

Expansion slots The expansion slots allow you to add extra parts to the computer. If say you want better image quality in your computer you can put a Graphics Processing Unit into one of the slots. They just allow you to add extra parts to your computer.

5

Power Supply Unit This is where electricity enters the computer. Electricity comes as an alternate current (AC) and the Power Supply Unit changes it into a direct current (DC) (Computer Hope.com).

6

Hard Drive The hard drive is where information and data is stored. All your files and saved documents are put onto the hard drive(s). All the info that you store is in the hard drive.

7

Sata cable(Red) These cables just send electricity through the computer. After the Power Supply Unit changes the electricity to DC it goes through the Sata cables to all parts of the computer.

8

Cmos battery complimentary metal oxide semiconductor keeps track of time and the date. The battery tracks the date and time and displays it in the bottom right hand corner(Mr. Strubberg). It is the silver circle to the left of the number 8.

9

The Tower You can’t see the 9, but it is the whole computer. The tower simply stores all the components of the computer.


Photo by Poet Larsen

1

2

3

8 4

7 6

5

What Makes a Computer 19


A laptop and tablet all at once...its the best of both worlds! The all new Windows 8


The Internet’s Effect on video games By: Austin Dell

Four years ago, if you went to any video game retail store, you would see it stuffed with people waiting in line to buy the new big budget title or browsing for some way to waste the weekend away. Now, those stores are empty except for one or two people trading in games for some extra cash or looking at the old games from the nineties.


convenient and that’s why they are so popular” Judge said.

graph of hard copy video game sales

Ever since video games have become a source of entertainment, they are constantly influenced by new technology and have evolved slowly with the rest of the world, with each generation becoming faster and more powerful than their predecessors. Scott Woodruff, a local video game retailer said “The internet is probably the biggest thing to hit the videogame industry, it has created DLC, things like steam, mobile games and they are all getting more popular”. But the Internet might change things more than the videogame industry is prepared for. It’s already been loosely confirmed that some of the next generation of video game consoles will make game discs only usable and will further support digitally sold games. How they will eliminate used games no one can say for sure but if that does happen you’ll start to see a lot of empty game retailers. Jingle Judge, a play n trade retailer said, “All of our money is made from used games, but if everything 22 December 2012 Digitall

made by: Daily infographic

goes digital, all that revenue is just gone. As more limitations appear our store will have to change its policies, we just don’t know how.” When thinking about video games, most people think about the little apps they have on their smartphones. With the increase in digitally sold games a lot of people are being affected. The new availability and the increase of digital and mobile games, especially in the game market that deals with hard copy sales of video games, has changed the way the industry functions and how it gets revenue. Mobile games have become almost as popular as console games as well. “I definitely see the appeal of mobile games, they’re fun for a few minutes and easy to use” said Ehsan Asda, an average gamer. Video games have it a slump in sales as said in Wall Street Cheat Sheet the video game industry, excluding mobile games, has hit a 25% drop in software sales and a 35% drop in hardware sales. “[Mobile games] are relatively cheap and

The graph to the left, created by daily infographic in june of 2012, shows the hard copies of video games being sold in the U.S from 2001 to 2011. Everything grows exponentially until around 2005. “Digital distribution really started out in 2005 because things like Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, and the PlayStation network were all created around this time and they all sell games digitally.” Scott Woodruff said . Then, hard copy sales continued to rise until 2008, where the sales dipped back down roughly to the rate of 2006. “ Quite a few things happened in 2008, the main thing is that full games could be sold on consoles and pc gaming started to become popular again” Scott Woodruff said. There are pro’s and con’s to this of course. “having games digitally sold is much easier and it can be cheaper.” said Jack Lin, a game enthusiast. “Ask practically any indie game developer, and they’ll tell you that the hardest part of making a successful game isn’t necessarily coming up with a concept, programming it, or even creating the art,” Kyle Orland, an indie game developer, said in his article about indie game events in 2011 “It’s getting your game noticed after it’s released.” However, with programs like Xbox Live Indiecade, Steam, and Origin, small time publishers will be able to sell their games with ease and minimal loss. Also, since there won’t be any hard copy retailers like GameStop or play n trade video game publishers will have an increase in their revenue, giving them bigger budgets on games. But then there are the negative aspects. Having your games downloaded from the internet gives a lot of opportunities


for viruses and broadband penetration. “A few years ago I was downloading a new steam game, once it finished I tried to play it and it said the file was corrupt.” Jingle Judge said “It turns out that someone had hacked into my computer while I was downloading the game and implanted a virus that broke it in less than a few days”. It also means that you won’t be able to return your games if you want your money back, and you’ll have to pay as much as the company wants you to pay since they have control over everything.

money from the people who want the game but don’t want to pay extra for the DLC and those people aren’t happy because they don’t get the game, then those people have a less likelihood to buy games from that company. As shown in the graph, sales in the video game industry have dropped since 2008 partly because of this.

with digitally sold games” Jack Lin said. Like previous retail stores and models, retailers must adapt or be endangered extinction. Retailers can offer better service, recommendations, or expert advice, but online outlets are improving each of these year after year.

As DLC, mobile games, and digital distribution becomes more popular, the retail model will change. “Video games are constantly changing, and adjustments are always made,” Scott Woodruff said. These changes can be good and bad, but either way the video game industry will have to adapt to new markets. “Even with download codes for digitally sold games, retail stores can’t run without used games” Jingle Judge said. Although retail stores will decrease, “convenience is much improved

There is also the rise of DLC (downloadable content) to think about. DLC was originally planned to be used as an add-on sold through the internet as a way to make a game last longer by adding certain things to it, like an extra sub plot or a new map for multiplayer. Although DLC has gone according to the plan in most games, there are plenty of examples where DLC has been used to complete an unfinished game for extra money. “downloadable content is getting really big now and it’s becoming more of a money grab from companies since they aren’t releasing full games any more...”Scott Woodruff said This has occurred most recently with Mass Effect 3, a big budget title set to be released worldwide by Electronic Arts. When the game was released, DLC for that game was released with it as an extra sub plot to the game costing ten dollars extra, even though it was planned to be part of the game without having to pay extra. This meant that Mass Effect 3 was released unfinished, with a part of the game sold as an add-on to get more money from Digital Ditribution the game. Many games have done this before and it usually never works in anyone’s favor since the company doesn’t get

By: Austin Dell

The Internets Effect on Video Games

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